In flipping through a board book recently, Micaiah did as she typically does, recalls what she remembers of the story and makes up the rest based on the pictures. As I fluttered about doing various things, preparing to head out the door to meet someone, I heard her declare, "And then Jesus died on the cross."
Looking over, I noticed this particular book was one about Easter. She had turned to the illustration of three crosses on a hill and knew their significance. She continued, "Jesus died on the cross, because . . . I don't know why. Mommy, why did Jesus die on the cross?"
I love the beautiful curiosity God built in children that can turn a board book into an opening for the gospel. Recognizing this wasn't an issue to be glossed over and had infinite importance, especially when compared with a simple meeting, I stopped in my flurry and embraced the moment.
"Do you know how we sometimes disobey God?"
"And when we disobey God, we need to be punished, right?"
"Well, God sent Jesus to die on the cross to take our punishment for us."
"But Jesus is God."
And with the simplicity only a four-year-old can muster, she speaks the truth of a King.
"Yes, Jesus is God. God became a man so He could take our punishment."
Oh, how precious the beauty of Easter and the vastly important job we, as parents, have to impress this knowledge on our children. Knowledge with which they will someday wrestle to make it their own, but now, at this very young age, they accept as truth, without question, because we have told them it is true.
"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, 'Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'" - Matthew 18:1-4
Let us not waste these precious opportunities to speak Truth to our children, but let us also embrace this Truth as a child, ourselves. Our faith is to worked out with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), yes, but at a certain point we will have to acknowledge it as faith and faith alone - we must accept it as True, because our Father has told us it is True. And He alone is trustworthy.